What is meant by "a poor church for the poor"?
#11
[quote='rbjmartin' pid='1159038' dateline='1363814702']
The current discussions of "the poor" (both here and elsewhere) in the context of the pope's statements seem to make no distinction between those who are materially poor and those who are spiritually poor (i.e. not "the poor in spirit" of the Beatitudes, but the spiritually impoverished). Certainly, poverty in spiritual matters is a more dire problem than material poverty, because its consequences are eternal. It is true that material poverty can often lead to despair and spiritual desolation, but it is not a given that the materially needy are the ones most in need of our kindness. We live in a spiritually impoverished world. The spiritually needy are all around us, and they include the rich. Is this new pontificate going to concentrate only on those who are temporally needy? I regard the widespread lack of faith and prevalence of error to be the greatest sources of spiritual impoverishment. Will concentration on material poverty do anything to alleviate these merciless destroyers of souls?

This ambiguous talk of a "poor church for the poor" is superficially clothed in the language of the Gospels, but we have yet to see the authentic spiritual message of the Gospels emerge from beneath these garments.
[/quote

Have you ever worked in a food kitchen? It's really hard to give spiritual nourishment to a man who can't feed his family or himself. Fill their stomachs, help them find a job & then start telling them about the Beatitudes. The chances are good that he's never heard of them & that all he knows about God is that His Son was born on Christmas.
Reply
#12
(03-20-2013, 07:13 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: I posited a simple question regarding the pope's statement. I never set up a dichotomy between spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The unity of the two did not seem clear to me in the pope's statement. Yet you now respond with an attack on an absent foe (i.e. the "conservatives"), citing a "sharp distinction" between the spiritual and corporal works. Who has done this in this thread? What are you talking about?

This whole thread seems to be premised on the assumption that Pope Francis's concern for the poor means that he will ignore the spiritual condition of those under his pastoral care.
Reply
#13
(03-20-2013, 07:26 PM)JoniCath Wrote:
(03-20-2013, 05:25 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: The current discussions of "the poor" (both here and elsewhere) in the context of the pope's statements seem to make no distinction between those who are materially poor and those who are spiritually poor (i.e. not "the poor in spirit" of the Beatitudes, but the spiritually impoverished). Certainly, poverty in spiritual matters is a more dire problem than material poverty, because its consequences are eternal. It is true that material poverty can often lead to despair and spiritual desolation, but it is not a given that the materially needy are the ones most in need of our kindness. We live in a spiritually impoverished world. The spiritually needy are all around us, and they include the rich. Is this new pontificate going to concentrate only on those who are temporally needy? I regard the widespread lack of faith and prevalence of error to be the greatest sources of spiritual impoverishment. Will concentration on material poverty do anything to alleviate these merciless destroyers of souls?

This ambiguous talk of a "poor church for the poor" is superficially clothed in the language of the Gospels, but we have yet to see the authentic spiritual message of the Gospels emerge from beneath these garments.

Have you ever worked in a food kitchen? It's really hard to give spiritual nourishment to a man who can't feed his family or himself. Fill their stomachs, help them find a job & then start telling them about the Beatitudes. The chances are good that he's never heard of them & that all he knows about God is that His Son was born on Christmas.

I don't follow your reasoning. I didn't say we should forsake material assistance to the poor. I'm all for the corporal works of mercy, and I think the approach you outlined is sensible. But this "poor church for the poor" statement is ambiguous. It sounds great, but what does it mean in practice?
Reply
#14
(03-20-2013, 09:41 PM)Crusading Philologist Wrote:
(03-20-2013, 07:13 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: I posited a simple question regarding the pope's statement. I never set up a dichotomy between spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The unity of the two did not seem clear to me in the pope's statement. Yet you now respond with an attack on an absent foe (i.e. the "conservatives"), citing a "sharp distinction" between the spiritual and corporal works. Who has done this in this thread? What are you talking about?

This whole thread seems to be premised on the assumption that Pope Francis's concern for the poor means that he will ignore the spiritual condition of those under his pastoral care.

Then you are bringing your own prejudice to this thread.
Reply
#15
Pope Francis has clarified his meaning of "the poor." This is good news, although I do wish he would mention Jesus Christ.

Quote:As you know, there are various reasons why I chose the name of Francis of Assisi, a familiar figure far beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, even among those who do not profess the Catholic faith. One of the first reasons was Francis’ love for the poor. How many poor people there still are in the world! And what great suffering they have to endure! After the example of Francis of Assisi, the Church in every corner of the globe has always tried to care for and look after those who suffer from want, and I think that in many of your countries you can attest to the generous activity of Christians who dedicate themselves to helping the sick, orphans, the homeless and all the marginalized, thus striving to make society more humane and more just.

But there is another form of poverty!

It is the spiritual poverty of our time, which afflicts the so-called richer countries particularly seriously. It is what my much-loved predecessor, Benedict XVI, called the "tyranny of relativism", which makes everyone his own criterion and endangers the coexistence of peoples. And that brings me to a second reason for my name. Francis of Assisi tells us we should work to build peace. But there is no true peace without truth! There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.

One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is Pontiff, that is, a builder of bridges with God and between people. My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced! My own origins impel me to work for the building of bridges. As you know, my family is of Italian origin; and so this dialogue between places and cultures a great distance apart matters greatly to me, this dialogue between one end of the world and the other, which today are growing ever closer, more interdependent, more in need of opportunities to meet and to create real spaces of authentic fraternity.

In this work, the role of religion is fundamental. It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world. And it is also important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail, but rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity.

Fighting poverty, both material and spiritual, building peace and constructing bridges: these, as it were, are the reference points for a journey that I want to invite each of the countries here represented to take up. But it is a difficult journey, if we do not learn to grow in love for this world of ours. Here too, it helps me to think of the name of Francis, who teaches us profound respect for the whole of creation and the protection of our environment, which all too often, instead of using for the good, we exploit greedily, to one another’s detriment.

Franciscus
AUDIENCE WITH THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ACCREDITED TO THE HOLY SEE
Sala Regia
Friday, 22 March 2013

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/france...co_en.html
Reply
#16
I agree with CP and others that there's no evidence Francis means poverty in a material sense only excluding the spiritual.

Anyway, the Church is already relatively poor. The Holy See's 'endowment' is $1billion, and the Vatican Bank keeps in its accounts an additional $6billion which belong to international orders, foundations, associations, etc. separate from the See. Harvard University's equivalent endowment is $30billion, Yale's is $20billion. The equivalent of the Vatican+all Catholic endowments in its stewardship would be Northwestern University, $7.1billion. The actual equivalent to the "Vatican's" endowment would be BU or UC Berkeley, each around $1billion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_col..._endowment
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/cha...hurch-poor

So unless these various media talking about 'making the Church poor' want to also start on their friendly local liberal archdiocese, it's rather a dead end.
Reply
#17
Is it not reasonable that if the Church only worked toward the eradication of poverty in the spiritual sense, that it would also, by necessity, fight poverty in the material sense? Does not a man who is holy, spiritual, and wise, practice the virtue of Charity? Would not the Church do the same?

I will be so bold as to say that the only thing that matters is the salvation of souls. And you might say, "What about the poor who have no house or food?" And I'd repeat to you the same thing: the only thing that matters is the salvation of souls. If our only mission is to save the souls of others, we will not become private, independent, greedy recluses who allow the poor to starve, because all of those things surely detract from salvation.
Reply
#18
(03-22-2013, 03:00 PM)US_Soldier Wrote: Is it not reasonable that if the Church only worked toward the eradication of poverty in the spiritual sense, that it would also, by necessity, fight poverty in the material sense? Does not a man who is holy, spiritual, and wise, practice the virtue of Charity? Would not the Church do the same?

I will be so bold as to say that the only thing that matters is the salvation of souls. And you might say, "What about the poor who have no house or food?" And I'd repeat to you the same thing: the only thing that matters is the salvation of souls. If our only mission is to save the souls of others, we will not become private, independent, greedy recluses who remain content with allowing the poor to starve, because all of those things surely detract from salvation.

This is an excellent point, and it is often overlooked. The best hedge against the afflictions of poverty is to spread the Gospel. A spiritually strong, virtuous society that is living the Gospel and seeking after perfection will do MORE for the poor than a society that is only concentrating on the material needs of the poor. The spiritual informs the material, and if we give primacy to spiritual needs, we ensure that we will be providing for BOTH the spiritual and material needs of our neighbor.
Reply
#19
(03-22-2013, 03:05 PM)rbjmartin Wrote:
(03-22-2013, 03:00 PM)US_Soldier Wrote: Is it not reasonable that if the Church only worked toward the eradication of poverty in the spiritual sense, that it would also, by necessity, fight poverty in the material sense? Does not a man who is holy, spiritual, and wise, practice the virtue of Charity? Would not the Church do the same?

I will be so bold as to say that the only thing that matters is the salvation of souls. And you might say, "What about the poor who have no house or food?" And I'd repeat to you the same thing: the only thing that matters is the salvation of souls. If our only mission is to save the souls of others, we will not become private, independent, greedy recluses who remain content with allowing the poor to starve, because all of those things surely detract from salvation.

This is an excellent point, and it is often overlooked. The best hedge against the afflictions of poverty is to spread the Gospel. A spiritually strong, virtuous society that is living the Gospel and seeking after perfection will do MORE for the poor than a society that is only concentrating on the material needs of the poor. The spiritual informs the material, and if we give primacy to spiritual needs, we ensure that we will be providing for BOTH the spiritual and material needs of our neighbor.

agree with you both
Reply
#20
(03-22-2013, 03:05 PM)rbjmartin Wrote:
(03-22-2013, 03:00 PM)US_Soldier Wrote: Is it not reasonable that if the Church only worked toward the eradication of poverty in the spiritual sense, that it would also, by necessity, fight poverty in the material sense? Does not a man who is holy, spiritual, and wise, practice the virtue of Charity? Would not the Church do the same?

I will be so bold as to say that the only thing that matters is the salvation of souls. And you might say, "What about the poor who have no house or food?" And I'd repeat to you the same thing: the only thing that matters is the salvation of souls. If our only mission is to save the souls of others, we will not become private, independent, greedy recluses who remain content with allowing the poor to starve, because all of those things surely detract from salvation.

This is an excellent point, and it is often overlooked. The best hedge against the afflictions of poverty is to spread the Gospel. A spiritually strong, virtuous society that is living the Gospel and seeking after perfection will do MORE for the poor than a society that is only concentrating on the material needs of the poor. The spiritual informs the material, and if we give primacy to spiritual needs, we ensure that we will be providing for BOTH the spiritual and material needs of our neighbor.

Amen brother!
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)